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Court of Arbitration in The Hague obliges Russia to pay to ex-Yukos shareholders

July 28, 2014, 12:59 UTC+3 THE HAGUE

Russia will have to pay $50 billion. Meanwhile, a representative of state-owned Rosneft oil company says all deals for the acquisition of Yukos oil firm were made in compliance with law

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The Peace Palace, seat of the International Court of Justice in The Hague

The Peace Palace, seat of the International Court of Justice in The Hague

©  AP Photo/International Court of Justice

THE HAGUE, July 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on Monday that Russia must pay compensation to former shareholders of the defunct oil giant Yukos.

Ex-shareholders of Yukos officially announced their claim against Russia was settled by the arbitrary court of The Hague. The court’s ruling envisages a $50 billion compensation to the claimants. The Russian Federation was the defendant in the case on expropriation of assets of bankrupt Yukos legally based on Article 45 of the Energy Charter Treaty.

According to Tim Osborne, who represents the interests of Yukos ex-shareholders, Group Menatep Ltd., added that the arbitrary court confirmed that actions towards Yukos were triggered not by the willingness to collect more taxes, but to turn Yukos bankrupt for the benefit of the state and of the Rosneft people.

“The process is not over, appellations are allowed,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted. “The Russian side, as well as agencies representing Russia in this trial will use all available legal possibilities to defend their stance.”

ITAR-TASS reported earlier with reference to Kommersant newspaper that the arbitrary court in The Hague ruled that Russia violated the Energy Charter Treaty and in fact recognized the energy company as expropriated. Group Menatep Limited (GML) representing the interests of Leonid Nevzlin, Vladimir Dubrov and others (Mikhail Khodorkovsky traditionally distances himself from the trial) demanded a compensation of $114 billion, but the court estimated the losses at circa $50 billion.

The newspaper’s sources call the ruling politically motivated and express the view that Russia will try to cancel it. GML is ready to claim the money compulsorily.

Gibraltar-based GML that united the holders of the controlling stake in Yukos (70%) is trying to claim the losses incurred by referring to the violation of Article 45 of the Energy Charter Treaty designed to protect the investors’ assets from expropriation by the state, which was signed but never ratified by Russia.

The trial began in 2005. In 2003, the state accused Yukos of tax dodging; the president and main shareholder of the company Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested (convicted for fraud in 2005, granted a pardon and set free in December 2013).

In late 2004, Yukos’s main asset, Yuganskneftegaz (currently belongs to Rosneft), was sold through an auction for 263 billion rubles ($9.3 billion for that time). In 2005, Khodorkovsky sold his partners a stake in GML, and it gained control over 70.5% of Yukos shares. Since then, the executive distanced himself from all court proceedings related to the company. Last week, Khodorkovsky’s representatives said he had nothing to do with the current trial.

Meanwhile, all deals for the acquisition of Yukos oil firm were made in compliance with law, Russian state-owned oil major Rosneft claimed on Monday.

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